The Costliest Pearl: China’s Struggle for India’s Ocean by Bertil Lintner

M. Doraibabu is a serving Captain in the Indian Navy and posted at the Maritime Warfare Centre, Mumbai. The views presented in the review are his own and do not reflect the views of the Indian Navy.
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  • October-December 2020
    Book Review

    The ‘string of pearls’ is a western narrative about China’s economic and/or military engagements with countries in the Indian Ocean littorals with a strategic outlook of encircling the Indian peninsula. Most of these engagements are established in locations overlooking the important trade Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOC) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The ‘string of pearls’ theory, enunciating an expansionist view of China in the Indian Ocean, is what makes Bertil Lintner’s book a knowledgeable read for Indo-Pacific watchers. Lintner, a Swedish journalist, is one of the leading experts on South Asian geopolitics with a special interest in Southeast Asia. This book speaks of the various strategic dalliances that China has engaged with IOR countries surrounding the Indian peninsula, and more importantly the smaller island nations, and what could be presumed as its intentions for doing so.

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